Spanish Rapiers

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Recently we had to pull several weapons to photography, including several that are on display.  For four of them, three rapiers and a sword, this was the first time any of us were able to get up close to them as they have been on display in Age of Exploration since the early 90’s.  The three rapiers are attributed as Spanish, but one of our curator’s has pointed out that this is most likely inaccurate.

This first one is a  composite rapier with tapering blade, iron hilt, comprising vertically recurved quillons, arms, and a pair of asymmetrical shells framed by a double ring, knuckle guards, globular pommel and later wire bound wooden handle, ca 1600’s.  Its origin is unknown though, and we haven’t found any markings to give us any clues.

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Reopening of the Ship Models

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Photographed by Brock Switzer

Our large ship models, previously displayed in our Great Hall, have always been popular.  Back in January we had to close access to them in the process of changing out two major galleries.  They were moved to a different space and I’m happy to report that the gallery is open and the models back on view!  We’ve also added a few models to show a broader range of what we hold in the collection.  This includes two steamboats, a fire boat, battleship, and sailing vessel.  And we’ve also got Speed and Innovation in the America’s Cup opening May 27 in the space where the models used to live.  So come on in and check it out!

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A Night to Remember

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Photographed by Brock Switzer

The sinking of RMS Titanic was a horrible disaster that continues to capture the imagination of people everywhere and has inspired many movies, including A Night to Remember.

A Night to Remember was released in 1958 and was (and still is) regarded highly for its accuracy in portraying the actual event.  The story is told from the view point of the passengers and crew, especially Second Officer Charles Lightoller, played by Kenneth More.  Lightoller was the most senior member of Titanic’s crew to survive.

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U-85 Lifejacket

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USS Roper, found on Navsource.org

On April 13, 1942 the destroyer USS Roper (DD-147) spotted the Type VIIB U-boat, U-85, sitting in shallow water off the coast of North Carolina.

After receiving heavy fire from Roper, the captain of U-85 scuttled the U-boat and the crew abandoned ship.  Roper dropped eleven depth charges after U-85 was abandoned, believing that other U-boats were nearby, killing the entire of crew of U-85.

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AC72 is here!!

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On January 30th the AC72 finally arrived!  It was met with great excitement by our staff and might now be the most photographed object in the collection since we all had our camera phones out.  The delivery came by way of three trucks, two we unloaded that morning and one that arrived later in the day.

The first piece to be unloaded was the central pod.  It was an incredibly tight fit, but they managed to get it in.  Small doors at a boat museum do not work well.  What followed were the forward and aft crossbeams, one of which was so wide that it had to go through a different door and made it around a corner by a hair.  This thing is huge!  Then came the j-foils and a couple of smaller pieces.

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